Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Nabil Bentaleb has been called up to the Algeria national team for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
The prestigious African competition will be held from January 17 to February 8 in Equatorial Guinea.
Bentaleb’s call-up means that he will (theoretically) miss Tottenham’s games against Sunderland (January 17), West Bromwich Albion (January 31) and Arsenal (February 7).
If Algeria reach the final, then the 20-year-old is also likely to sit out Spurs’ Premier League encounter against Liverpool away from home on February 10.
But is this going to affect Tottenham's Premier League campaign too much?
Bentaleb has made eight appearances in the Premier League so far this season, creating five chances, having a pass accuracy of 88%, and winning 44% of the duels.
The youngster seems to have made himself a regular in Mauricio Pochettino’s team, and losing him for even a couple of weeks (if Algeria fail to progress to the knockout rounds of Afcon) will be disappointing for Tottenham.
Bentaleb has been played alongside Ryan Mason in central midfield, and he has done admirably well. However, Tottenham can live without him because they have a certain Benjamin Stambouli.
The 24-year-old defensive midfielder was signed from Montpellier in the summer transfer window, but he has not been used consistently enough.
Perhaps in the coming weeks Stambouli will - and probably should - see more of the action. That will certainly help compensate for the loss of Bentaleb.